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Watersheds


What is a watershed?
The land area that drains into a common body of water, such as a river or lake.

Water from all rivers and streams in Cuyahoga County flow into Lake Erie. Lake Erie is not only the source of our drinking water, but it also provides us with recreational and economic benefits. Watersheds are the places we call home, where we work and where we play. What you and others do within your watershed impacts the quality and quantity of water and other natural resources. Healthy watersheds are not only vital for a healthy environment, but also for a healthy economy.

Every watershed is different - they are as diverse as our landscape and are formed by many unique shapes and areas, and subsequently contain many different natural and man-made features. Watersheds may include hills or mountains or may be nearly flat. They might have cities, farms, wetlands, woodland and even deserts. In Northeast Ohio there are about 25 different watersheds - Cuyahoga River, Big Creek, Rocky River, Euclid Creek, and West Creek, to name a few. All the water that flows into these creeks and rivers eventually makes its way to Lake Erie. Each watershed has its own unique characteristics and water quality issues. Impervious (hard) surfaces in a watershed contribute to storm water pollution. When snow melt or rain water runs over these hard surfaces, it takes any pollutants on the ground with it such as fertilizers, pet waste, oil and gas.

You can help improve the health of your watershed by incorporating good conservation practices at your home or business. Reduce impervious surfaces, install a rain barrel or rain garden, clean up after your pet, keep waste out of storm drains and streams, and most importantly, get involved with your local conservation/watershed groups and take part in keeping your watershed clean and healthy.